THE HAGUE (The Thursday Times) — Israel today states it will face charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in the Netherlands on January 11, 2024, in an attempt to refute South Africa’s allegations of crimes against humanity during the Gaza conflict. According to an Israeli government spokesperson, South Africa’s genocide claims are a “blood libel” and Israel is committed to disproving them at the ICJ.
The issue stems from South Africa’s appeal to the ICJ, accusing Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention in its actions against Hamas. Israeli Foreign Ministry has dismissed these accusations as unfounded.
Eylon Levy, the Israeli spokesperson, emphasised that Israel’s actions were in response to an attack by Hamas militants on October 7, which resulted in 1,200 Israeli casualties. In retaliation, Israel launched a military campaign leading to over 22,000 deaths in Gaza, as reported by Palestinian health officials. Israel, however, challenges these figures and maintains that a majority of the casualties were combatants.
The Israeli spokesperson highlighted efforts by the Israeli military to limit civilian casualties and accused Hamas of using civilian infrastructure for military purposes. He also suggested, without further details, South Africa’s indirect involvement in Hamas’ actions against Israel. Hamas has refuted claims of using civilians as human shields.
South African representatives are preparing for the ICJ hearing scheduled for January 11 and 12. South Africa has historically supported Palestinian statehood and compared their situation to the apartheid era in South Africa, a parallel Israel strongly rejects.
The ICJ serves as the primary judicial branch of the United Nations and addresses disputes between nations. The upcoming hearing will focus on South Africa’s allegations and Israel’s defense.